PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A total of 545 solar panels were installed at Peoria’s Woodruff Career and Technical Center in August and will be turned on over the school’s winter break.
Renewable Energy Instructor Mike Brix said students have been able to watch the entire installation process, from panels and panel frames to wiring through the roof.
Thanks to an $8.6 million pollution settlement from Bartonville’s Edwards Power Plant, Woodruff received a grant of $1.5 million, spending $1.1 million on the installation and cost of the panels.
According to Brix, the solar panels were placed on two different parts of the roof.
“About three-quarters of them are on what we call our lower gym. The other quarter is on our upper gym,” Brix said.
The solar panels will create 25% of the energy used at the school at about 450,000 kilowatts of electricity annually, a significant amount compared to the annual use of 11,000 kilowatts in the average home.
Principal Arnie Spiker said it is programs like this one that made him want the job in the first place.
“I want to make sure kids have those experiences, so they can find something that they’re passionate about and enjoy doing,” said Spiker.
Funding from the settlement will also be used for tools in the school’s new renewable energy program, giving students the opportunity to explore a new career field.